Numerous people who sent letters to the President have received the following standard form response from the Vice-President Research & Innovation on Friday, May 2nd, 2014.
Thank you for your message and your concern about IRIS. The President has requested that I respond to your message on his behalf.
Research in the area of sustainability is one of the pillars of research at York. Our strategic research plan identifies Forging a Just and Sustainable World as one of six major research themes at York and further identifies Public Engagement for a Just and Sustainable World as one of five compelling areas of opportunity for the development of research at York over the next five years.
IRIS has enjoyed 10 years of support as an organized research unit at York. During that time IRIS has enjoyed a number of successes and has supported a number of impactful research projects and many important ancillary activities.
As part of a competitive chartering process, organized research Units at York undergo regular external peer review to provide advice and critical appraisal of their research activities and forward plans, to promote research excellence and ensure that scarce institutional resources are invested where they will make the biggest difference in promoting the development of research.
The recent review of IRIS activities, comprised of both external and broad-based internal consultations identified a number challenges to the continued development of IRIS as an organized research unit. These include a declining trend in externally awarded research funding over IRIS’s current term paired with a lack of expressed plans to develop new research proposals and additional external funding, and a lack of focus and identity paired with the expression of a strategic vision that was not viewed as providing a strong pathway to developing national and international recognition for IRIS’s work.
After consideration of all of the inputs, we have come to the conclusion that IRIS should not be proposed for a new charter at this time
This outcome does not detract from the past success of IRIS or the strong individual research that continues to be engaged in by researchers participating in IRIS. Further, York will work hard to ensure the research of IRIS’s members, the community and student engagement activities of IRIS and external partnerships continue to flourish during and following the transition period.
I want to assure you, that sustainability research continues to be immensely important and is an area truly differentiates York as a research intensive institution. It is an area whose development we will continue to actively promote as across the institution
I hope that I have been able to communicate the strength of York’s commitment to sustainability research across the institution and the excitement that exists for the future development of research in this area.
Vice-President Research & Innovation